BOSTON, MA – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America paid $17 million to the victims of pedophile priests, ousted Executive Director Jerry Dimitriou wrote in his January 24 letter to the Archbishop Geron Demetrios of America. Dimitriou was Archbishop Demetrios’ closest confidant and ally for the last 17 years.
Dimitriou specifically wrote: “Did we not work together to settle multimillion dollar lawsuits against those clergy who had abused children and women that they were sworn to serve under Christ? Did we not work together to pay over $17 million in legal bills and settlements to take care of the burden they made for our Archdiocese? Did we not work together, with many dedicated lawyers and professionals, to create new misconduct policies and ensure their enforcement to protect both the faithful and clergy from these same types of situations?”
In his interview with The National Herald on September 24, 2009, on the occasion of
the completion of ten years of Archbishopric ministry in America, said the following:
TNH: How much money has the Archdiocese paid thus far for these sexual misconduct cases?
AD: Fifteen million from the year 2000 until today; with the addition of the $150,000 per month that we pay now until June 2010; it will be about $16 million.I have to note here that they were not paid from the Archdiocesan budget; a big portion came from donations. There were people who called and said, “look you have this problem. It is not fair to struggle to try to pay from the budget of the Archdiocese all those amounts.” So, the donations covered a big portion of that.
We also had the great blessing to have a big number of legal professionals headed by our General Legal Advisor Emmanuel Demos, who worked day and night without any compensation.
TNH: Let’s talk about the $15 million, which will become $16 million for the sexual misconduct of the clergy. Who are the donors? How much have they given? How much did the Archdiocese pay from its budget?
AD: There are people who insisted and insist on remaining anonymous and I respect that. I have asked you many times to tell me your sources and you have always refused because you consider confidentiality your journalistic privilege, and I also consider it my duty not to reveal their names. The only thing I can say is that the offer of these donations is a very positive element that shows where this Church stands regarding things that occurred in the past.
TNH: Some of the misconduct cases occurred during your Archbishopric ministry.
AD: A small portion of them.
TNH: What is going on with the issue of pederasty and such behavior by the priests? How much does it concern your Eminence?
AD: It concerns me. We have very strict regulations, which we apply. Many times there is strong opposition by some who say don’t you have compassion [for the priests]? But I reply that for these issues, compassion does not apply.
TNH: Then why didn’t you defrock Fr. [Nick] Katinas from the beginning?
AD: Look, the process has many details. It would be an injustice to the truth if I begin to tell this story. The process which we followed was worthy of praise. It was a process which covered all the issues without compromises. I have no doubts about the way it was done. Some things could have been done a little this or the other way, these things happen. When the documents were complete and clear, the decision was clear.”